If you are in charge of reducing the rate of ex-offenders returning to prison, what are the four top factors leading to a decline in recidivism?
With that very question, I start many of my presentations about Belay Enterprises. I like it because it helps groups to focus on a main reason for our incubation of faith venture businesses. And it gives a chance to interact with the group while wrestling with the issues around recidivism.
About a month ago, I started my presentation to 50 business people at the Partners Worldwide/Belay breakfast with that very question. I was prepared for the standard give and take but then someone unexpected raised their hand. It turned out that a homeless man had found his way into the gathering and was enjoying breakfast and the talk.
He raised his hand and answered my question: “Employment, type of offense, counseling, and education.” The crowd missed the fact that this man had hit a home run.
Each of his points were true and in perfect order of importance from first to last. He then explained his points in a meandering tale of his experience. Everyone in the crowd got a front-row seat to a personal perspective on recidivism from someone who had lived it out in his life.
The experience took my breath away. It was if God was emphasizing the importance of what we are doing.
Real people with real issues of brokenness need Christ-following business people to catch a vision of how they can help individuals rebuilding lives.
And sometimes that message comes in a surprising way.